Palm Springs public health officials have passed a plan to reopen golf courses in the Coachella Valley effective April 20. Many Courses are already open with more scheduled to re-open Thursday, April 23rd.
- – Play shall be limited to foursomes that will be required to observe social distancing (six feet separation between players at all times).
- – No caddies.
- – No large gatherings, including fundraisers or tournaments, will be permitted before June 20, 2020.
- – Face coverings, such as scarves, bandanas and neck gaiters, shall be worn by players and workers.
- – No in-person dining will be allowed at clubhouses.
“Play is being cautiously reopened for observation,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer.
The county has also clarified that parks and trails will remain open, including parking lots.
Social distancing and face coverings must be maintained at all times.
Other outdoor activities that are allowed include hiking, biking and equestrian activities and other non-contact outdoor activities such as tennis.
“After consulting with public health officials and local leadership, we have made modifications for golf and other forms of recreational activity, such as use of parks, trails and outdoor areas for hiking, biking, pickleball and tennis to resume,” said Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “With proper safety guidelines, our residents can benefit from healthy activities that promote physical exercise, wellness and behavioral health so long as physical distancing is practiced. We will continue to listen and base decisions on thorough review, best practices, data and science.”
The full amended order has not been released, however, News Channel 3 obtained a copy of the draft of that order which outlines the limitations for reopening public and private golf courses.
The draft of the amended order, originally dated for April 21, 2020, reveals some of the other possible changes that would need to take place.
Those working or playing at a golf course would need to wear “face coverings, such as scarves (dense fabric, without holes), bandanas, neck gaiter, or other fabric face coverings,” according to the order.
The order “requires that social distancing must be practiced in all ancillary use areas of a golf course, including but not limited to parking areas, clubhouses, driving ranges, and practice putting greens.”
Golf courses will need to “fully implement” a social-distancing program developed by the National Golf Course Owners Association, according to the document.
The plans, called “Park and Play: Making Your Course Social Distance Ready” outline changes to prepare players, the facility, and the course staff.
Some of the changes include encouraging golfers to pay in advance, ride one person per golf car, and proceed to the first tee without personal contact. Players would be directed to leave the pin in the cup at all times, or courses could raise the cup. Golfers still would need to follow county guidance regarding gathering limits and social distancing.
On the course, golfers would not see rakes, ball washing stations, garbage cans, or water stations.
Course operators would need to increase “the frequency of routine cleaning, sanitization and disinfection of all locations, especially all common and high traffic areas, and frequently touched surfaces,” according to the plan. Like restaurants throughout the county, courses should eliminate “sit-down food and beverage services, and recommend customers use pre-order “take-out” or “to go” services only.” Courses could consider delivery cart-to-cart. The county order further restricts food and beverage services to “delivery or pick-up orders.”
Golf course staff would need to be trained to “recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and know how to act responsibly if they detect or exhibit symptoms.” They would also need to be trained on “hygiene, sanitation and food handling to learn about epidemic prevention and control.”
Golf courses in the county have been closed for weeks, in response to country orders aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.
A complete shutdown of golf courses in the county was ordered April 2, after some golf courses closed while others remained open.
Some courses have opened their greens up to their community for walking while the golfers have been away. “This Order shall not restrict the ability of individuals to walk a golf course for exercise, if permitted by the golf course/club, so long as social distancing practices are maintained at all times.”
Amenities including “a gym, fitness center, beauty salon, or spa,” will remain closed, according to the county order.
By Tom Tucker
This article originally appeared on KESQ.com.